Causes of Peyronie’s disease

The cause of Peyronie’s disease is not known but it has been theorized that a single incident or repeated damage to blood vessels in the penis causes leakage into areas of the penis which do not usually come into contact with blood. This triggers the body’s immune system to engage, which results in scarring. Basically this means that a penis “broken” during vigorous sexual intercourse or other penile trauma creates a situation for which the body is unprepared.

There are others who suggest the disease can be hereditary, suggesting a defect in the patient’s genetic make-up. The disease has also been associated with low levels of the male hormone testosterone. The evidence that the disease may have a genetic basis stems from the fact that a positive family history is common. There is also an association with other connective tissue disorders, specifically Dupuytren’s contracture affecting the palms of the hands. Urological Institutes such as the one at Johns Hopkins support the popular theory that Peyronie’s disease is induced by trauma. The trauma may be acute and distinct such as a penile fracture but more often it is chronic and low grade such as repeated attempts at sexual intercourse with weak or incomplete erections.

The disease is a connective tissue disorder of the penis that has been compared to arthritis. Although the disease is quite common – affecting as much as 1 in 11 men despite the lack of public awareness – it is not a disease in the traditional sense of the word. It’s not a disease you can give to others or receive.

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